The Lyric Hammersmith today announces the casting for the world premiere of Leave to Remain, a new play with songs, which runs 18 January – 16 February 2019. Also announced today are the details of the show’s soundtrack, performed by Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke, the album will be released on press night, Thursday 24 January.

Leave to Remain is written by Matt Jones (Doctor Who, Mr Selfridge), with music by the lead singer of Bloc Party Kele Okereke and directed by Robby Graham (Artistic Director of Southpaw Dance Company and choreographer of the National Theatre’s production of Angels in America).

As previously announced, Tyrone Huntley will play the role of Obi; his previous theatre credits include the much applauded role of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) for which he was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Joining him as Obi’s partner, Alex, is Billy Cullum. His many theatre credits include the West End productions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda the Musical, and most recently the critically acclaimed Little Shop of Horrors (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre).

The role of Diane is played by Emma Amos who has worked extensively in theatre, television and film, theatre credits include The Lady in the Van (Theatre Royal Bath) and Sweet Bird of the South (Chichester Festival Theatre). Playing Chichi is Aretha Ayeh, who was recently part of the Royal Shakespeare Company season including new musical Miss Littlewood, The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich and The Duchess of Malfi. Rakie Ayola joins the company to play Grace. Rakie is best known for her role in BBC’s Holby City, more recently she took over the role of Hermione Granger in the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Sandy Batchelor joins to play Raymond. Sandy recently appeared in the ATG UK tour of Strangers on a Train. Playing Damien is Arun Blair-Mangat, his credits for the National Theatre include Angels in America, Wig Out and he was in the original West End cast of Kinky Boots. Cornell S. John plays Kenneth. Cornell played Mufasa in the original West End cast of The Lion King and will appear in the forthcoming film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. With further casting to be announced.

Give me your worst day
Give it to me
I'll take the strain
Give me all the times you go insane
Your leave to remain

Obi (Tyrone Huntley) and Alex (Billy Cullum) are a young gay couple leading busy London lives.

When Alex’s visa comes into question, their relationship takes a turn. Marriage is an option, but the timing isn’t perfect, and it means confronting their families and their pasts.

Told through a blend of movement, drama and 14 original new tracks by Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, Leave to Remain is a tender portrait of love in the face of an uncertain future.

A new play with songs by Matt Jones and Kele Okereke
Directed by Robby Graham
Designed by Rebecca Brower

A Lyric Hammersmith production.
18 January – 16 February 2019
Press Night: Thursday 24 January at 7pm

Search available dates below.

Album release

The soundtrack from Leave to Remain will be released by Kele Okereke to coincide with press night on 24 January.

All songs are written and performed by Kele, produced by Chris Savor with additional production and mixing handled by Charles Kelly. ‘Not The Drugs Talking’ was previewed by Kele at the Lyric Hammersmith’s Spring season 2019 press launch and is available now on iTunes and Spotify. The album is released by The Orchard.

Leave to Remain track listing:
1. Obi and Alex theme
2. Not The Drugs Talking
3. The Proposal
4. The Sea Between Us
5. No Blue Skies
6. Shame
7. Chi Chi Convinces
8. Damian’s Seduction
9. To Family
10. The Fight
11. More Than You Know
12. 5 Years
13. The Lies We Tell
14. Grace’s Ultimatum
15. Leave to Remain


Emma Amos plays Diane:

Theatre credits include: The Lady in the Van (Theatre Royal Bath); Sweet Bird of the South (Chichester Festival Theatre); Variation on a Theme (Finborough Theatre); 66 Books – In the Land of Uz (Bush Theatre); Hay Fever (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Blue Hearts (National Theatre Studio) and The Fastest Clock in the Universe (Hampstead Theatre).

Television and film credits include: Scarlet Says, Nightstand, Copier, Mother’s Milk, A Ghost in Monte Carlo, Blackball, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Buddy’s Song, Firelight, Rowing with the Wind, Secrets and Lies, The Tribe and Vera Drake.

Aretha Ayeh plays Chichi:

Theatre credits include: The Hoes (Hampstead Theatre); Miss Littlewood, The Fantastic Follies Of Mrs Rich, The Duchess Of Malfi (RSC); Lady Chatterley’s Lover (No. 1 UK Tour); Love Me Tender (No.1 UK Tour); Barnum (Chichester Festival Theatre); Rapunzel (Park Theatre); Dick Whittington and his Cat (Lyric Hammersmith); Pendragon (Rose Theatre Kingston).

Television and film credits include: The Strike (BBC/HBO); The 4 o’clock Club (BBC); Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (Warner Bros. David Yates); Doctors (BBC Television); The Quiet Ones (Hammer Films) and Russell T Davies’s Cucumber (Channel 4).

Rakie Ayola plays Grace:

Theatre credits include: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (The Palace Theatre); The Rest of Your Life (Bush Theatre); King Lear (Royal Exchange/Talawa Theatre Company); Crave/4.48 Psychosis (Sheffield Crucible); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (National Theatre at Apollo Theatre); The Winter’s Tale (RSC); Twelfth Night (Bristol Old Vic); Dido Queen of Carthage (The Globe Theatre); King Hedley the 2nd (Tricycle Theatre); Hamlet and Twelfth Night (Birmingham Rep).
Film credits include: Been So Long, King Lear, Dredd, Sahara.

Television credits include: Flowers, No Offence, Vera, Gracie, Code of a Killer, Midsomer Murders, Under Milk Wood, Silent Witness, Stella and Black Mirror.

Sandy Batchelor plays Raymond:

Theatre credits include: Strangers On A Train (UK Tour); High Society (The Mill At Sonning Theatre); Nutcracker (Nuffield Theatre) The Captain Of Kopenick (National Theatre); The Real Thing (ETT/West Yorkshire Playhouse); The Tempest (Bath Theatre Royal) and Dr. Angelus, Privates On Parade, Trelawny Of The Wells, My Fair Lady and more (Pitlochry Festival Theatre).
His television credits include: Ordeal By Innocence (BBC), Doctors (BBC), Magic Grandad (BBC) and Hitler Speaks (Monster Films). His film credits include Three Acts, The Fall Of The Krays and The Sad Case.

Arun Blair-Mangat plays Damien:

Theatre credits include: In The Heights (King’s Cross Theatre); Angels in America, Wig Out and The Drag (National Theatre); Kinky Boots (Original West End Cast); Romeo and Juliet (UK Tour); Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare’s Globe); Britain’s Got Bhangra (Theatre Royal Stratford East and UK Tour); Company (Aberdeen Arts Centre); About A Bot (UK Tour); Hairspray (UK Tour).

Television credits include: Press (BBC) and The Royals (E!).

Billy Cullum plays Alex:

Theatre credits include: Little Shop Of Horrors (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre); Rent (UK Tour); Jesus Christ Superstar (Open Air Regent’s Park); Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (West End); Matilda the Musical (West End); Merrily We Roll Along (Theatre Clwyd); Spring Awakening (UK Tour); Godspell (Union Theatre); Hair (Ljubljana Festival); Ten Plagues (Royal Court) and Pieces of String (Waterloo East Theatre).

Film credits include: Be Happy.

Tyrone Huntley plays Obi:

Theatre credits include: TJ in Sister Act (UK Tour), Doctor in the original London cast of The Book of Mormon, Gator in the original London cast of Memphis and White in Dreamgirls. Tyrone won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Emerging Talent in 2016. He played the role of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, for which he received great acclaim for his performance and was nominated for both the Whatsonstage Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Cornell S. John plays Kenneth:

Theatre credits include: The Life (Southwark Playhouse); Baddies (Unicorn Theatre); The Rubenstein Kiss (Nottingham Playhouse/Tour); But I Cld Only Whisper (Arcola); Waiting for Godot (West Yorkshire Playhouse); The Meeting (Pleasance Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Belgrade Theatre); Sweet Charity (Victoria Palace Theatre); South Pacific (Crucible, Sheffield) and The Lion King (The Lyceum).
Film credits include: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2, Brotherhood, Jack and the Giant Killer, Dreams of a Life, Anuvahood, Kidulthood, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Adulthood.


Written by Matt Jones and Kele Okereke
Songs and music by Kele Okereke
Directed by Robby Graham
Designed by Rebecca Brower
Lighting Designed by Anna Watson
Casting Director Will Burton CDG

Matt Jones has written for Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Mr Selfridge, Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Dirk Gently. Working out of Los Angeles, he wrote an episode and served as supervising producer on the second season of Rogue, starring Thandie Newton. As a non-writing executive producer, he has worked on twenty dramas for television, and has produced or executive produced over eighty hours of drama, including Paul Abbott’s BAFTA-award winning Shameless, which he developed and went on to executive produce for its first four UK seasons. He also served as executive producer on the American remake of the teen drama Skins.

Kele Okereke is the frontman (principal songwriter and lead vocalist) of the English rock band Bloc Party, whose debut album Silent Alarm was nominated for 2005’s Mercury Prize and named ‘Album of the Year’ by NME. Over the course of Bloc Party’s career, they have released five full-length albums and sold over four million records, quickly garnering a reputation as one of Britain's most thrilling live acts. Since 2010, whilst continuing to lead Bloc Party, Kele has embarked on the journey of a solo music career which has seen the release of three full-length albums, most recently Fatherland.

Robby Graham is a choreographer, director, and Artistic Director of Southpaw Dance Company. As Artistic Director of Southpaw Dance Company, Robby has created a wealth of internationally touring work, including the award winning productions ‘Faust’, ’Carousel’, and ‘Speakeasy’. Robby has also created several celebrated large-scale, mass movement spectaculars, including ‘Rush’, ‘Wordplay’, and most recently, choreographed ‘The Future of Things Past’, the opening ceremony for Castlemaine State Festival in Victoria, Australia. In 2017 Robby choreographed Angels in America at the National Theatre. Most recently Robby co-directed Johnathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing for Greenwich Docklands Festival and choreographed the first Public Acts iteration of Pericles at the National Theatre with 230 community cast members.

Rebecca Brower was the 2012 winner of The Stage Design Award and The Equity Young Members Bursary Award. Rebecca was on the design team for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and least year designed the Rio 2016 Paralympics Heritage Flame Ceremony. Theatre design credits include Beautiful Thing (Greenwich & Docklands Festival), All or Nothing (West End), The Dog Beneath the Skin (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Rothschild & Sons (The Park Theatre).

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